San Jose State (6-2) at Idaho (1-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 5 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kibbie Dome (16,000) -- Moscow, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 3-1, Idaho 1-2. Away Record: SJSU 3-1, Idaho 0-5. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-0, Idaho 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 2-1, Idaho 1-2. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 12-10-1.
GAME NOTES: Hopefully rested up after being run all over the field by Louisiana Tech back on Oct. 20, the Idaho Vandals get back to playing football this weekend as they challenge the San Jose State Spartans in Western Athletic Conference action at the Kibbie Dome.
After eight games the Vandals have just a single win, a favorable 26-18 decision over New Mexico State in early October and since then the team has been outscored in two games by a combined 108-35. Versus the Bulldogs in Ruston, Idaho was crushed in a 70-28 final which means the team has now allowed at least 63 points three different times this season.
Meanwhile, the Spartans have had a very impressive season thus far with not only six wins in the last seven opportunities, but also the knowledge that they nearly knocked off local foe Stanford (20-17) in the season opener as well. Most recently, SJSU took out Texas State at home, 31-20, which means the Spartans have won two straight overall and are 2-1 in league play.
In a series that dates back to 1946, SJSU owns a 12-10-1 advantage even though Idaho has captured three straight wins, including a 32-29 decision on the road in California a season ago.
San Jose State scored 14 points in both the second and third quarters on Saturday, enough to get the team over the jump against a pesky Texas State. Throwing for more than 300 yards for the third time this season, David Fales hit on 26-of-38 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns, but he also tossed a couple of interceptions along the way as well.
The Spartans produced another 195 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, thanks in large part to De'Leon Eskridge who led the way with 134 yards and a TD on 25 rushing attempts for the hosts.
Defensively, SJSU locked up on the Bobcats after intermission, permitting the visitors just six possessions which ended in four punts and a pair of picks, one of those interceptions coming from Cullen Newsome who also led the program with 10 total tackles.
The turnover margin continues to work in the favor of the Spartans through eight games, the team placing second in the conference and 31st nationally with a plus-0.50 turnovers per outing. The defense is also getting a very strong effort at the line of scrimmage and beyond, averaging 3.25 sacks per contest to rank second in the league and ninth in the country, while their 7.13 tackles for loss per game is first in the WAC at the moment.
First in the conference and seventh in the nation in terms of pass efficiency rating (165.34), Fales has been a tremendous addition to the roster for this season, even if the offensive line has surrendered close to three sacks per game thus far.
The last time the Vandals made an appearance on the field, the team was being traumatized by a Louisiana Tech squad that was rolling up a ridiculous 839 yards of total offense. Perhaps even more remarkable is that the damage could have been far greater had the Bulldogs not failed to score during two of their red-zone possessions.
There wasn't much to write home about when it came to the Idaho offense either as the team generated just a fraction of yards (304) compared to the hosts. Even with the 28 points, the Vandals are still last in the entire nation in scoring with just 16.0 ppg.
The team has recorded a mere three rushing touchdowns while averaging a woeful 3.1 yards per attempt, a far cry from the 27 TDs and 5.4 yards per carry recorded by the competition. New quarterback Dominique Blackman has been trying desperately to give his team a fighting chance from one week to the next, but while the unit is throwing for a respectable 237.1 ypg thus far, the signal-caller has just nine TDs in seven games and has issued 13 interceptions.
Just from the looks of Blackman's stat line, it is obvious that the Vandals have a problem with turnovers, so much so that the group is last in the conference and 117th in the country with minus-1.50 turnovers per outing. Add that to giving up a massive 508.4 ypg and it is easy to see how this team is permitting an unsightly 42.0 ppg.
The Vandals simply don't have the strength on either side of the ball to keep a competent team like San Jose State from capturing a win in Moscow. It may not be pretty, but you can expect the Spartans to come out victorious this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 35, Idaho 13
10/31 10:38:03 ET